Living With Incurable Cancer at the End of Life-Patients' Perceptions on Quality of Life

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This study describes incurably ill cancer patients' perceptions of the quality of life at the end of life. Purposeful sampling was used to get as comprehensive descriptions as possible about quality of life. Five patients participated in repeated focus groups. Content analysis showed that the patients emphasized what they could perform and enjoy in daily life, not their shortcomings. Five themes were developed: "valuing ordinariness in life," "maintaining a positive life," "alleviated suffering," "significant relations," and "managing life when ill." The themes describe that the patients could participate in daily and social life despite cancer. Relation with family and palliative team deepened during the progress of illness in such that a resonance developed in communication. Other important findings were that patients' memories helped them to maintain a positive life and that the patients used individual strategies to relive pain by emotional and physical distractions. For the patients, managing life as ill meant taking actions with creative thinking in solving problems as a way to cope and achieve quality of life. These positive findings from the focus groups have led to continued research regarding how patients with incurable cancer perceive quality of life.

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